Global Game Jam — Bucharest 2015

Quick info: January 23—25, 2015, venue Crystal Palace Ballrooms, 198A Calea Rahovei, Sector 5, Bucharest (map), starts at 16:00 on Friday, ends 20:00 on Sunday.


The Hack in association with Google presents Global Game Jam Bucharest.

Global Game Jam is the biggest, funnest game development event in the world. More specifically, it is the world’s largest game jam event (game creation) taking place around the world at physical locations. Think of it as a hackathon focused on game development.

Focus: Casual Games

In Bucharest, we’d love to find out whether we can stumble upon the next big casual gaming hit. The next Pong, Tetris, Angry Birds, Flappy Bird, Cut the Rope… you get the idea.

It’s pretty clear there is no sure-fire way to create a casual gaming hit. But here’s a couple of pointers:

For these reason, we’d like to propose that teams use established game development IDEs such as Unity or GameMaker and focus on playability and fun.


To be clear, apart from the focus the Bucharest organizers chose for this instance, Global Game Jam always has a central theme. This theme is secret until the start of the event (so that people can’t come with finished games). Past themes include “Extinction”, “Deception”, or “We “We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are”.

Frequently asked questions

These are taken from the global site and appropriated or extended.

What is a game jam?

The goal is to come together and make a video game. Participants rapidly prototype game designs and hopefully inject new ideas to help grow the game industry. We share a common theme and constraints. We ask participants to create a game from beginning to end in a prescribed time (maximum of 48 hours). The brief time span is meant to help encourage creative thinking to result in small but innovative and experimental games.

Do I need to come to GGJ with a team already formed?

If you feel strongly about coming in a pre-existing team, why not! But you don’t need to. Everyone will have some time to think and pitch an idea. Collaborate with new friends or peers you admire.

Do I need special skills to participate in the GGJ?

Although having computer skills is helpful, code experience is not necessary. Designers, developers, artists and anyone is welcome to try their hand at making a game during the GGJ.

Who owns the intellectual property of games made during GGJ?

The team/makers of the game hold all IP rights. However, the Global Game Jam may use the games for demonstration as it sees fit. All games must be posted in the condition they are in as of the close of the GGJ event (Sunday). All participants and all games entered for GGJ must agree to a Creative Commons, share, alter, no sell license.

The Creative Commons only applies for the version of the game submitted on the event, though. After the event, you are free to continue with your prototype as a commercial (closed-source) game.

Is the GGJ only for professionals?

No. Everyone is welcome.

What technologies and game engines should I use?

Any technology that you are comfortable with is great. If you already have your favorite game-making tools, you will probably want to use them.

The following is for those who are still undecided.

Many game jammers make the fatal mistake of trying to code their game from scratch, without using any game engine. When they do, they spend a lot of their time building the basics (game loop, hit detection, object spawning, etc.) instead of building the game. They also tend to lose precious time re-inventing the wheel and re-creating bugs that have already been made and solved a hundred times. Last but not least, if you code from scratch, you have to also create your own tooling, which tends to be much less fun to code that the actual game.

The most popular game engine nowadays is Unity. It has a fully functional free offering, packages extensive tooling, support 2D as well as 3D, and can compile to Windows, OS X, Linux, the Web, (and for a fee:) Android, iOS, Windows Phone, BlackBerry, PlayStation (3, 4, Vita, Mobile), XBox (360, One) and Wii.

We’ll have experienced Unity game developers on site. Unity also has extensive documentation and lots of tutorials.

Another full-featured game engine is GameMaker. It’s not as popular as Unity, but has similar features and tooling. The IDE only works on Windows.

An open-source (and apparently more technologically advanced) counterpart to GameMaker is called Construct. This IDE also works only on Windows.

The Mac counterpart to GameMaker and Construct is GameSalad. As with all the game engines above, it allows exporting games to many platforms, but the GameSalad IDE only works on a Mac.

Another way to make your game accessible on many platforms is to program it for the web. Find a good HTML5 game engine on

A popular game platform was historically Adobe Flash. Nowadays, for various reasons, it’s not such a good idea to make a Flash game, but if you really want to, you can use Fixel as your game engine.

If you’re familiar with writing Flash games, but don’t want to require the Flash plug-in, you might enjoy StageXL, which is a library for Dart that lets you create HTML5 games.

For graphics, you might want to use the free open source 3D tool Blender or the free open source bitmap tool Gimp.

For sounds, there’s Audacity.

Last but not least, you might want to learn a bit about game design and programming in advance. Many great resources for game design and development in general are on TutsPlus. As for game programming, you should probably read through Bob Nystrom’s Game Programming Patterns.

Hope this will help!

How much is it?

Participation on GGJ Bucharest is for free, courtesy of Google.

What’s in it for me?

How can I participate?


First of all, please register.

The big blue button will take you to our local form. After you fill that in, the form will also ask you to complete the global site’s registration. Please make sure you are registered on both sites.

On Friday, January 23, at 4pm, be at Crystal Palace Ballrooms in Bucharest (map).

We’ll kick off by presentations and workshops.


The Bucharest instance of Global Game Jam is organized by The Hack in association with Google. Contact us.